Ghosts of language past: Signing up for French lessons a decade after my last exam

Bonjour mes amis,

It has been a while, nearly 10 years to the day, since I sat my final high school French exam. I still remember the stress and worry I was going through as I made sure I had enough vocab stored in my mind, the right tenses up my sleeve, and knew all my adjectifs. Now, what obscure tense was that sentence in? Who knows! Je sais pas.

With a little bit of faith and some solid study, I am pleased to say I did quite well on that French exam. For anyone who is familiar with the International Baccalaureate system, I scored a 6 in Standard Level French.

After that result sunk in, as pleased as I was, I knew I probably wouldn’t pursue French beyond high school. While dreams of becoming a worldly diplomat still lingered, and as much as our teacher had consistently reminded us of just how WIDELY SPOKEN the French language is, I knew I was done.

Fast forward many years, and I find myself craving some of that subjonctif, categorising every object into either feminine or masculine, and trying to remember whether I did something in the past, was going to do something in the past, should have done something, or am I in fact, living in the present?

Alongside a dear friend who has just returned from a year living in Geneva, I have signed up for one term of French lessons for the start of 2020. I’ll be doing the Intermediate Conversation class with Alliance Francaise, an organisation about which I’ve heard many great things.

This means that during this upcoming summer I’ll be studiously re learning everything I think I’ll need, conjugations and all. I will admit I’m looking forward to a study routine, and dipping my toes back into the language of love, of diplomacy , and announcements at the Olympic Games. Tokyo 2020 anyone?

Have you ever revisited a second or third language you once knew well? What was it like to pick it back up? Tell me in the comments!

À la prochaine.


Featured photo by Latrach Med Jamil on Unsplash

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